Yashar
TRADITION/MESORAH
FEBRUARY  2016

A Mussar Gem

The Midrash teaches (Bereishit Rabbah 11:6), “Everything that came into being during the six days of Creation requires improvement—for example, the mustard seed needs to be sweetened ... also people need rectification.” Our world is a world of transformation. When we are improving and refining ourselves, we are in concert with the Divine plan—fulfilling our purpose for existing in this world. Yet the question still remains: What is the goal? How far must we strive?

We read in Tanna D’Bei Eliyahu (25): “Therefore, I say that every member of the Jewish people is obligated to say, ‘When will my deeds reach the level of those of my forefathers, Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov?’” Every Jew has the potential, and responsibility, to reach a relative equivalency of the level of spirituality of the forefathers.

According to these passages, it is clear that the central purpose of the creation is to ascend to the level of the forefathers. Not only is the human being created for this purpose, but he is also given the ability and capacity to attain this supreme goal. 
– Rabbi Yisrael Salanter  (Ohr Yisroel, trans. Rabbi Zvi Miller, p. 38)

 


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The Mussar Institute depends on the generosity of supporters. Please consider making a donation to honor someone or to remember a loved one.

Thank you to our generous donors & members:

  • Jeffrey Agron
  • Anonymous
  • Marsha Belford
  • Fran Berman, in honor of Michele and Richard Jackman
  • Peter Doerken and Candis Duke Doerken
  • Joshua Ellis
  • Terri Elston, dedicated to Jack Cole
  • Charles Feinberg
  • Sam and Adrianne Finnerman
  • Sandra Garrett
  • Steven Goldberg
  • Rick Goldberg
  • Judith Golden
  • Laura Goldman
  • Stephen Haas
  • Robin Holzman
  • Barry Horowitz, in honor of Rabbi Howard Shapiro
  • David Jaffe, dedicated to Herman Jaffe
  • Rhonda Kiff
  • Bonnie Kozek
  • Joann Lancin
  • Amy Leider
  • Bonnie Leopold
  • Diane Litke
  • Robert Mandel
  • Nana Meyer, in memory of Rabbi Samuel Meyer
  • Alan Morinis
  • Nina Perlmutter
  • Myra Peskowitz
  • Evelyn Prince
  • Miriam and Daniel Scharf
  • Jerrold and Judy Schermer
  • Sharon Schwartz
  • Gary Shaffer
  • Janet Shalwitz, in honor of Sharona Silverman
  • Hilary Silver
  • Patricia Smith, in honor of Debra Cohn
  • Ruth Sohn
  • Beatrice Steinberg
  • Linda Trageser, in honor of Dena Forster
  • Sherry and Daniel Weinberger
  • Efrat Zarren-Zohar

Donations received as of Jan. 25.

Membership

TMI Membership for 2015–2016 is now open. Support TMI and take advantage of special offerings for members. Click here for more information. 

Donations are gratefully accepted.

pushke


THE MUSSAR INSTITUTE

For further information on The Mussar Institute, visit www.MussarInstitute.org
Email address: info@mussarinstitute.org
Phone: 305-610-7260

Alan MorinisThrough a Mussar Lens: the Beauty of Tradition

I date the first work that focused on the unique question addressed by Mussar to the 10th century—Rabbi Sa’adia Gaon’s Sefer Emunot v’De’ot (completed in 933). That title is usually translated as The Book of Beliefs and Opinions, but it is equally correct to translate it as The Book of Beliefs and Soul-Traits, since medieval writers (including Rambam) tended to use the term de’ot where more recent writers would use middot [traits of the nefesh-soul].

Since that time, every generation has carried on the investigation that Sa’adia Gaon began in the chapter of his book called “How it is Fitting for a Human Being to Behave in the World.” The chain of Mussar teachers addressing that question is unbroken into the present.

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Generosity Week Feb. 21–26

The Mussar Institute’s fifth annual Generosity Week (February 21-26) involves five inspiring organizations whose services provide examples of ways to incorporate the practice of generosity in our lives through experiencing a direct connection with others within our communities. The organizations include Jewish Family Services, Hazon, Areyvuot—Mitzvah Clowning, Jewish Teen Funding and JEVS Human Services. Topics focus on generosity with resources—time and deeds, money, food, possessions, talents and skills, words and encouragement. Over the course of the week, participants will receive a daily video with a brief lesson including practice suggestions to help them build and strengthen their generosity muscles.

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Hitlamdut and the Art of Dispute for the Sake of Heaven

Approximately 2,000 years ago, on the 9th of Adar, according to some of our traditional sources, the initially peaceful and constructive conflict between Beit Hillel and Beit Shammai erupted into a violent struggle over 18 matters of law, leading to the death of many rabbis and students (according to some sources, 3,000 of them!). According to other sources, there was no physical violence, but the 9th of Adar was the day that machloket (dispute) first emerged between Beit Hillel and Beit Shammai, which itself was sad and potentially destructive. Both the Babylonian and Jerusalem Talmudim say that the day was as tragic as the day the golden calf was created.

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Mussar Practice Retreats will Change How You See Mussar

art suppliesThe Mussar Institute Practice Retreats are designed to help participants discover a variety of ways to integrate Mussar into our daily lives. Whether you are a beginner or more advanced Mussar student, you will find ways to strengthen your practice. The community formed during the retreats is powerfully supportive, and each participant will work in groups and in chevruta (pairs), as well as with faculty, to find the paths that will work for you.

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The Value of Mussar

Excerpt from Marga & Henri Vogel’s article
published in the original Dutch in Holland, in the December issue of Mantra

Marga and Henri VogelThe teachings of Mussar have become the greatest inspiration for our conscious behavior. We examine each and every action we take (or not) and its impact on our soul. Old stumbling blocks in our character-traits have disappeared, or at least have developed into smaller stumbling blocks, and show a noticeable change in our everyday functioning. How do we know?

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Bulletin Board

MINI-KALLAH IN HOUSTON: Alan Morinis will be among the teachers presenting at “Strengthening Your Spiritual Connection,” a half-day Kallah in Houston on February 21. The faculty also include Aryeh Wolbe, Scott Hausman-Weiss, Matthew Berger, Ann Friedman, and Marian Bell. For more information or to register, please click here.

Kallah attendees in CologneMUSSAR IN EUROPE: The first German Kallah was held January 16 in Cologne, with the assistance of the Mussar community of Holland. Hanna Fischer from Milch und Honig organized the Kallah, which was attended by 40 people and received broadcast attention on German national radio. Pictured (from left) are Henri Vogel, Daniel Beaupain, Hanna Fischer and Mirjam van Blankenstein.

KALLAH DATES: Kallah XIV will be held December 1-4 at the Capital Camp and Retreat Center north of the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area.

CHEVRUTA NEEDED: The Everyday Holiness and other courses require additional people willing to serve as chevruta to current students. If you are interested, please contact Kalinka Moudrova-Rothman at chevrutamatching@mussarinstitute.org.

WELZOO: Raise funds for The Mussar Institute without actually spending any money! All you have to do is make welzoo.com your start page. Since it’s a simple setting in your browser (Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Internet Explorer), changing it is easy and there is no cost to you or to TMI. Once welzoo.com is your start page, go on the Internet as you normally would. Just for landing on Welzoo (automatic since it’s your start page), they donate up to 6 cents every day to TMI. Click on this link to begin: http://www.welzoo.com/join/mussar-institut/0Vl7f24/XaR2fGc

AMAZON SMILE: Bookmark this link to help The Mussar Institute each time you do eligible shopping through AmazonSmile: http://smile.amazon.com/ch/20-2095736. Amazon donates 0.5% of the purchase price to TMI. 

VIDEO BLOGS: Visit the YouTube channel of Rabbi Chaim Safren of the Calgary Kollel in Canada, and one of our esteemed TMI teachers, on a variety of Mussar subjects.
New 3-minute Mussar video blogs come out a few times each month and deal with everyday opportunities for Mussar practice. Very engaging!


The Practice Corner

Thank you very muchTradition is something to be grateful for because our ancestors lit the path and have spared us the need to re-learn all the lessons in living that they accumulated during their lives which they pass along to us as “tradition.” With that thought in mind, a practice related to tradition is to a take a moment to feel and express gratitude in your heart for the guidance of teachers, for the Mussar tradition and for the Jewish tradition, for the guidance you have received and the suffering you have been spared.


Newsletter Home

Through a Mussar Lens: the Beauty of Tradition – by Alan Morinis

Generosity Week Feb. 21–26 – by Margo Martin

Hitlamdut and the Art of Dispute for the Sake of Heaven – by Amy Eilberg

Mussar Practice Retreats will Change How You See Mussar – by Marcia Plumb

The Value of Mussar – Excerpt from Marga & Henri Vogel’s article

 

 

 


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Copyright 2016 © The Mussar Institute

A Mussar Gem

The Midrash teaches (Bereishit Rabbah 11:6), “Everything that came into being during the six days of Creation requires improvement—for example, the mustard seed needs to be sweetened ... also people need rectification.” Our world is a world of transformation. When we are improving and refining ourselves, we are in concert with the Divine plan—fulfilling our purpose for existing in this world. Yet the question still remains: What is the goal? How far must we strive?

We read in Tanna D’Bei Eliyahu (25): “Therefore, I say that every member of the Jewish people is obligated to say, ‘When will my deeds reach the level of those of my forefathers, Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov?’” Every Jew has the potential, and responsibility, to reach a relative equivalency of the level of spirituality of the forefathers.

According to these passages, it is clear that the central purpose of the creation is to ascend to the level of the forefathers. Not only is the human being created for this purpose, but he is also given the ability and capacity to attain this supreme goal. 
– Rabbi Yisrael Salanter  (Ohr Yisroel, trans. Rabbi Zvi Miller, p. 38)

 


wwwfollow us on facebook

FOLLOW US ON:

Forward to a friend

Join our mailing list


Donations & Memberships

The Mussar Institute depends on the generosity of supporters. Please consider making a donation to honor someone or to remember a loved one.

Thank you to our generous donors & members:

Donations received as of Jan. 25.

Membership

TMI Membership for 2015–2016 is now open. Support TMI and take advantage of special offerings for members. Click here for more information. 

Donations are gratefully accepted.

pushke


THE MUSSAR INSTITUTE

For further information on The Mussar Institute, visit www.MussarInstitute.org
Email address: info@mussarinstitute.org
Phone: 305-610-7260